Colby Covington: I think I break Israel Adesanya

In a recent interview, Colby Covington expressed interest in a fight with middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

By: Stephie Haynes | 4 weeks ago
Colby Covington: I think I break Israel Adesanya

A brief history of Colby Covington

Colby Covington has been a polarizing figure for several years, garnering both followers and detractors for his political takes and trash talk. After Leon Edwards defended his title successfully against Kamaru Usman this past March, UFC president Dana White announced that Covington would be the next contender for the welterweight title. The MMA community was left to ponder why when Belal Muhammad was right there.

There was a collective gasp of surprise from both media and fans when, out of nowhere, Colby showed up at the UFC 286 weigh-ins as the alternate in case one of the headlining fighters had an issue. It had been a year since he last fought against a shopworn Jorge Masvidal, dominating the Cuban the entire contest. Not long after, Colby Covington would wind up on the receiving end of Masvidal’s wrath in the private sector, with “Gamebred” allegedly showing up at a steakhouse where he was dining, then attacking him, chipping one of Covington’s teeth in the process.

Immediately, he retained legal counsel and basically dropped out of sight for several months, making tidy bundles of cash along the way on the poker circuit, where he apparently has quite a gift. So why did the UFC ultimately settle on Colby Covington as the man to get next, despite only having a pair of wins over ranked opponents, those being a declining Masvidal and Rafael dos Anjos who has been a career lightweight?

Colby Covington manipulates the media

Quite simply, they have nobody else that can put asses in seats at welterweight, and I’m not saying Colby Covington is a huge draw, but he’s a better draw than both Leon Edwards and Belal Muhammad. And even though Muhammad’s fight with Burns was supposedly a title-eliminator, you can pretty much set your watch to Dana White running it back as soon as a more exciting opportunity presents itself. Remind yourselves frequently, this is not a meritocracy.

How does Colby do it, though? He manipulates the media to his advantage incredibly well. He says the most incendiary things he can possibly say. He makes the most insane callouts. He insults the people he calls out. And the media gobbles it up because he’s a quote machine. Just look at the headline here.

The following quotes came from an interview Covington gave to MMA Fighting this week:

“Absolutely [I’d still love that matchup], I think that’s a huge fight and it’s a fight of high magnitude. I like the matchup, to be honest. I don’t think he can hang with me. I think I take him down, I beat him from pillar to post and I just break him inside that octagon. He can’t hang with the cardio king. He’s not ready for raw American steel and twisted sex appeal.”

“I would love that fight, champion vs. champion, USA vs. wherever he’s from New Zealand or whatever, let’s get this going.”

This is the most prime example of his use of any platform he’s afforded. He made a callout that he knows will never come to fruition, but it’s wild enough to keep his name up in marquee spots in the news. It will be interesting to see how Adesanya responds, if he even bothers with it.

More discussion

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About the author
Stephie Haynes
Stephie Haynes

Stephie Haynes has been covering MMA since 2005. She has also worked for MMA promotion Proelite and apparel brand TapouT. She hosted TapouT’s official radio show for four years before joining Bloody Elbow in 2012. She has interviewed everyone there is to interview in the fight game from from Dana White to Conor McGregor to Kimbo Slice, as well as mainstream TV, film and music stars including Norman Reedus, RZA and Anthony Bourdain. She has been producing the BE podcast network since 2017 and hosts four of its current shows.

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